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Water polo: Europe made it to the World League finals

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The European prelims of the World League have come to an end; most teams consider it as an opportunity to prepare for the World Championships in Budapest. The Serbian, Croatian and Italian teams can go on to the finals held in Moscow.

The final round of the European World League qualifications did not cause much surprise, Serbia, Croatia and Italy can go on to the Super Final taking place at the end of June.

It became clear earlier that from group A the title defending Olympic, World and European champion, Serbia would go to the tournament, in the final round they demonstrated their power by their 11-2 victory striking back to the Slovakian team for the draw back in early January (Dejan Savic went for a very young team then).

Concerning group C, it turned out that Italy would go on, however, in this 3-member round Italy played a sort of out-of-competition game as Russians are automatically entitled to participate as the hosting team, anyway. The last competition day did cause some surprise though; Italy could win by one goal only (13-12) in Georgia. As a matter of fact, the team, selected by Alessandro Campagna consisted of members who had not played much together earlier. The team in Tbilisi was comprised of the following players: Edoardo Manzi, Vincenzo Dolce, Alessandro Velotto, Vincenzo Renzuto Iodice, Tommaso Busilacchi, Jacopo Alesiani, Lorenzo Bruni, Francesco Di Fulvio, Edoardo Di Somma, Andrea Fondelli, Francesco De Michelis, Gianmarco Nicosia, Giacomo Cannella.

Great atmoshpere at Tbilisi during the game of Georgia and Italy (Photo: Federazione Italiana Nuoto/Facebook)

In group B we had to wait for the final round, although the two potential teams, Croatia and Greece had already determined the directions. In their home country Croatians managed to defeat Greece significantly, therefore the outcome of the battle among each other favoured them. The ultimate question was whether there would be unexpected surprises in the final round. There was none, Croatians defeated the Dutch, Greeks beat the French – Ivica Tucak shall start preparing the team for the finals in Moscow.

Two major teams will not enter the World League in Europe this year hence the Spanish and the Hungarian team cannot seize this opportunity to prepare for the World Championships, they shall seek alternative opportunities to get into perfect shape.

The entire list of World League Super Final teams will become official by the 30th of April hence this date marks the end of the intercontinental qualification at Gold Coast, Australia. This is the venue of the other qualification tournament taking place between 25th and 30th, of April (in Gold Coast Aquatics Centre), where 4 teams will go on to the final event in Moscow between 20th and 25th of June. 

Men’s water polo tournament in Budapest will commence on 17th of July.

World League European qualifications results:

Serbia-Slovakia 11-2 (3-0, 3-1, 2-1, 3-0)
Romania-Germany 9-7 (2-2, 3-1, 1-1, 3-3)

France-Greece 4-10 (2-1, 0-4, 1-2, 1-3)
Croatia-Netherlands 17-7 (3-1, 2-1, 6-2, 6-3)

Georgia-Italy 12-13 (2-2, 4-4, 4-4, 2-3)

Group results:

Group A:

1. Serbia 17 points – qualified for the World League Super Final
2. Slovakia 8 points
3. Romania 7 points
4. Germany 4 points

Group B:

1. Croatia 15 points – qualified for the World League Super Final
2. Greece 15 points
3. Netherlands 6 points
4. France 0 points

Group C:

1. Italy 12 points – qualified for the World League Super Final
2. Italy 6 points
3. Georgia 0 points

Intercontinental tournament – participating teams (25-30 April):

Australia (host)
China
Japan
Kazakhstan
New-Zealand
US

Super Final automatic entitlement: Russia (host)

The two groups of eight in the Super Final:

Group A:

The team ranked 2nd in the intercontinental qualifications
Serbia
The team ranked 4th in the intercontinental qualifications
Italy

Group B:

The team ranked 1st in the intercontinental qualifications
Croatia
The team ranked 3rd in the intercontinental qualifications
Italy

The Super Final will take place between 20th and 25th of June in Moscow.